One person died after a Southwest Airlines plane experienced serious engine trouble Tuesday and was forced to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia. Seven other people on Flight 1380 were injured. It is the first U.S. airline fatality since 2009.
National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt said an initial inspection showed that a fan blade had separated from the engine. In a news conference late Tuesday, he said the plane's engine has twenty-four blades.
"The number thirteen fan blade was separated and missing and it was separated at the point of where it would come into the hub," he said. "Our preliminary examination of this was that there's evidence of metal fatigue where the blade separated."
Sumwalt added that the engine's cowling was found on the ground about 70 miles northwest of Philadelphia. Investigators won't complete their determination of the cause for several months.
"We do have information that there was one fatality," Sumwalt told reporters during a news conference earlier in the day. Philadelphia Fire Department Commissioner Adam Thiel had previously told reporters that one person was transported to a hospital in critical condition and that the seven others were treated at the scene for minor injuries.